Be Responsible. Be Ready.

This phrase is the slogan for the Howard County Community Emergency Response Network (CERN) and is a reminder for all of us to prepare in advance
of a disaster or emergency situation. CERN is a “public/private partnership of first responders, nonprofit leaders, and others with a mission to enhance community resilience through emergency preparedness. Community resilience depends on knowledge, prior planning, taking reasonable precautions, and citizens helping one another.” Whether it is a hurricane, a blizzard, or worse, CERN members and local officials advise that in the event of a disaster, we need to be prepared to be selfsufficient in our homes for at least 3 to 5 days and should consider being prepared for up to 2 weeks.

Are you ready? The first item on CERN’s list of To-Do’s to be ready to shelter in place is to have a disaster kit on hand and ready to use. CERN reminds us that it is easy to pull these items together in advance, “but almost impossible once a disaster strikes.” If you have the following items on hand, you will be able to
shelter at home for 3 to 5 days:

Water in unbreakable containers. You need to have one gallon of water per person, per day. Consider that children, the elderly, and pregnant women will require more water per day. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.

Food that is ready to eat and pre packaged, such as peanut butter, granola bars, cookies, cereal, tea, coffee, and juices. Remember to have a manual can opener.

Flashlight with extra batteries (or hand-cranked). Radio that is battery-powered or hand-cranked. The local Emergency Alert Broadcast Stations are: WIYY (FM 97.9), WBAL (AM 1090), WTOP (FM 103.5), and WMAL (AM 630).

First-aid kit including instruction manual and scissors.

Medications, both prescription and non-prescription.

Special items for infants, elderly, or the disabled.

Trash bags with ties.

Blankets or sleeping bags.

Change of clothes for each member of the household.

Soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, bleach, and other sanitation items.

Credit cards, cash, copies of important documents such as insurance policies, and important phone numbers/contact information.

Tools and pet supplies.

If you store these items in a large, easy to carry container such as a plastic bin or trash can, you will have everything in one place and it will be portable in case you need to evacuate.

The information in this article was provided by CERN. For information on CERN, additional disaster preparedness tips, and resources visit

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